Remembering a night in Louisville with Lauren Bacall - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Remembering a night in Louisville with Lauren Bacall

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Lauren Bacall died Tuesday at the age of 89. Lauren Bacall died Tuesday at the age of 89.
Andrea Crawford remembers a night spent in the company of Lauren Bacall during a visit the iconic actress made to Louisville. Andrea Crawford remembers a night spent in the company of Lauren Bacall during a visit the iconic actress made to Louisville.
NOTE: Andrea Crawford is the younger sister of WDRB sports journalist Eric Crawford and the daughter of former Courier-Journal columnist Byron Crawford. She lives, works and occasionally writes in Louisville, Ky.

By Andrea Crawford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Growing up in a family dominated by media types means a couple of things are automatically true.

First, you get a bit used to being quoted in articles, having your personal life talked about on the radio or being acknowledged in the foreword or dedication of a book here and there.

Second, you also get used to everyone else in your family having much cooler stories about celebrity interactions or sightings than you have.

Certainly, this is true with my family. Of my three siblings, I definitely would be picked as the one least likely to spend several uninterrupted hours with a certified Hollywood legend.

But I did.

In my twenties, I worked for a few years as a Concierge at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. In those days, the Brown had two floors that could only be accessed with a tiny gold key given at check in. The other girls and I were basically stewardesses -- fixing drinks, emptying ashtrays, chatting up people in the lounges.

That's how I met Lauren Bacall.

She was in town for the Arabian Horse Show, staying on the 12th floor. She would come in late after the show was over and chain smoke with a bottle of Makers Mark, then talk to us in our boring blue suits and giant blue hair bows.

I wish I could remember more of what she actually said instead of odd specific details that don't make for great stories, details like her giant sunglasses and the deep contralto of her voice that age and cigarettes had robbed of almost all feminine lilt or light.

I knew as I sat there that I should be paying attention to what she was saying, but I was fixated on ghosts of Bogart, of Marilyn Monroe and Gary Cooper. I'd grown up watching only those old movies on a rented VCR that my mother solely and carefully curated herself.

I thought of that night when the news came that Ms. Bacall had passed away. What has stuck with me of her is that she was was warm and gracious, generously indulgent of young girls hungry for the romance that she'd lived and portrayed on the silver screen.

It was a world that by all accounts was dead by the time I arrived on the scene and I couldn't help but get caught up in what she represented and what she she had seen.

Now she, too, is gone.

I wish I had held onto more of those few hours. As it is, even though I'm not usually the one in my family with the most celebrity stories, nor the best writer to tell them, I think in this one isolated case, they all pretty much agree that I win.

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